The Amish and banking

amish banking

Amish use banks, checking accounts, and in some cases, credit cards.

The drive-thru window comes in handy too.

More on the Amish and banks.

(photo: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep)

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    1. Mark Biernat

      I would be curious to know more about the Amish system of capital and credit. It seems they do not invest in the stock market because they are so entrepreneurial themselves they prefer a more direct for of ownership. The stock market is indirect ownership.
      Therefore, if they are not going to bank the money they would reinvest it in a local business they have some influence over.

    2. Do Amish invest in stocks and mutual funds?

      Mark that’s a great question. Some Amish actually do invest in mutual funds and stocks. It’s not exactly widespread among Amish but you have seen more of this investing in the market with growing business prosperity among Amish. There are even some Plain money managers.

      Philosophically the indirect vs. direct ownership question is an interesting one. This is possibly part of the motivation of many Amish to invest in land (when they can afford it). They also provide seed capital for small enterprises in the community.

    3. Mark Biernat

      I have not seen any studies on it, but I would say that direct ownership is more efficient and profitable.
      The argument is indirect ownership allows for ‘professional management’. However, the question is, is that really as good as the store keeper who watches over his own store? You can even extrapolated out to the big business level.

      It is interesting that the Amish do invest in mutual finds etc. I guess they are practical people.
      However, I can not imagine there are too many Amish day traders for obvious reasons as day trading is technology intensive and not the Amish business philosophy in general, that is create value for the long-term.

    4. Age of Amish farms and businesses

      Today you have Amish farms that have been in a family 200 years. The oldest Amish businesses are maybe 70-80, and those are the occasional buggy shops; most are much younger. But there are a number that are 2nd and even 3rd generation. If we could flash forward a century I’d be curious to see how many 100-yr+ Amish companies would be around.

      For a lot of Amish entrepreneurs I found it’s a source of satisfaction to know you created something others want to take over and are able to make a living with. True of non-Amish as well, of course.

      As far as ownership, you are right the more skin in the game the more you care of course.

      Also true that Amish businesses want to create value for the long term. Not all are like that but the mentality is pretty common. At least after you get to the point where you are established and can support yourself.

    5. Kerry

      The banking/investment concept re: Amish always seems to startle people, as if it’s commonly thought that they simply hide all of their money under the mattress or something! However, your entry here caught my attention as there is a rather intense local controversy brewing here in Ohio about an Amish investment broker who recently claimed bankruptcy. The church is trying to pull this back out of court with the guarantee that they will “make good” on the “error of their brother”, as they recently presented at a federal court hearing held in a local hotel (to accommodate the Amish clients). Guess it’s not that simple, though, to do that, and there are also English investors involved. This is receiving a lot of coverage in the local paper(s).

      Also, around here, for some reason some stores will not take checks from the Amish. One time I realized I didn’t have cash for a local market which mainly caters to tourists but also has local clientele. When I asked if I could write a check, the girl at the counter said yes, since I “wasn’t Amish”. I must have looked kind of startled because she then said they always have problems with their checks so no longer accepted them. I thought that was a rather broad statement and found it somewhat offensive to lump them all together, and I no longer frequent that store.

      Anyway, the financial aspect is something many don’t think about and it always seems to catch people off guard if mentioned.

    6. Are Amish financially dependable?

      Hi Kerry, thanks for the interesting comments. I’ve been following the Holmes County investment issue for awhile now, and it’s really an unfortunate thing. I know it’s been covered in the Budget a good bit. A lot of money involved and it sounds like details are still emerging.

      The most positive thing I read in the last article was that some of the larger creditors who still had a chance of receiving a significant amount of funds back were offering to cover losses of some of the smaller ones. I believe a lot of people had large percentage of personal savings tied up in this.

      As for Amish and checks, unless there’s a local issue or something specific to that business I’m unaware of, I kind of doubt that it is a financial issue–though it may have something to do with many Amish not having photo ID?

      In running a previous business I received approximately 2,000 checks from Amish customers, from over a dozen settlements, including many from across Holmes County. Only one of those checks was returned as having insufficient funds, and that issue was quickly corrected by the individual who wrote it.

    7. Brother Paul,

      Bank account w/o Social Security Number?:

      Do the Amish use a S.S.N. for Banking. I do not use a S.S.N. because of Religious beliefs (Mark of the Beast) I am trying to get a bank account Without a S.S.N. and have had a hard time the banks are just refusing to give me an account claiming Patriot Act. Any info would be a blessing. Blessings, Brother Paul,

      1. Kara


        In response to mark of the Beast, it pertains to your thoughts (forehead) and actions (hand). Do you follow the ways of this material world, including money. Money is needed to buy and sell. It always comes back to money—the love of it is the root of all evil. Look to the ways of this world; for instance how greed has caused strife. Revelation 13:16-18 correlates to King Solomon acquiring massive amounts of gold (1 Kings 10:14, money) instead of spreading wealth to help others. Essentially the mark is allegiance. Who is your allegiance towards? “Make no Oath. This comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:34-37 Summation). Always Read The Fine Print: Soul.